Development and evaluation of the bacterial fate and transport module for the Agricultural Policy/Environmental eXtender (APEX) model Academic Article uri icon


  • The Agricultural Policy/Environmental eXtender (APEX) is a watershed-scale water quality model that includes detailed representation of agricultural management. The objective of this work was to develop a process-based model for simulating the fate and transport of manure-borne bacteria on land and in streams with the APEX model. The bacteria model utilizes manure erosion rates to estimate the amount of edge-of-field bacteria export. Bacteria survival in manure is simulated as a two-stage process separately for each manure application event. In-stream microbial fate and transport processes include bacteria release from streambeds due to sediment resuspension during high flow events, active release from the streambed sediment during low flow periods, bacteria settling with sediment, and survival. Default parameter values were selected from published databases and evaluated based on field observations. The APEX model with the newly developed microbial fate and transport module was applied to simulate fate and transport of the fecal indicator bacterium Escherichia coli in the Toenepi watershed, New Zealand that was monitored for seven years. The stream network of the watershed ran through grazing lands with daily bovine waste deposition. Results show that the APEX with the bacteria module reproduced well the monitored pattern of E. coli concentrations at the watershed outlet. The APEX with the microbial fate and transport module will be utilized for predicting microbial quality of water as affected by various agricultural practices, evaluating monitoring protocols, and supporting the selection of management practices based on regulations that rely on fecal indicator bacteria concentrations.

author list (cited authors)

  • Hong, E., Park, Y., Muirhead, R., Jeong, J., & Pachepsky, Y. A.

citation count

  • 8

publication date

  • October 2017